Daylight Savings Time Redux (x4)

Yes, it’s that time again. And, since WordPress once again won’t let me add photos (nor tags nor schedule) I’m rerunning this post from three years ago.  It pretty much covers all the necessary territory (and then some). Stay tuned for a new website platform coming in January.

 

Thanks to Pinterest for the image.

In recognition of my new subscribers since last year at this time, I’m rerunning my standard end DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (DST) rant.  But which rant shall I choose? There are now four!

So, considering that extra hour of sleep we need each night this week to compensate for the added risk to our lives from this DST upheaval (yes, you’ll read more of this below), I’ll start with my first rant, DST: Yay or Nay,  from November 6, 2013.  Then, I’ve added a few more links from later DST rants.

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With the nearly nationwide return this past weekend to Standard Time (I say nearly because not all states or territories observe Daylight Saving Time) I got curious once again about this scourge of school children everywhere.

I’ll start with a short quiz.

1. What does DST stand for?

A.  Daylight Savings Time
B.  Daylight Saving Time
C.  Determined Sourgrass Tunnel

2. What parts of the US do not follow DST?

A. Arizona
B. Puerto Rico
C. Hawaii and Guam
D. The US Virgin Islands and American Samoa
E. All of the above

3. For what purpose was DST first instituted?

A. As a way to help farmers
B. As a safety measure during WWII to facilitate blackouts.
C. As a health measure to guard against heart attacks.
D. As an energy measure during WWI to save fuel

Ready for the answers?

 

 

The answers are 1-B, 2-E, and 3-D  (BED, makes it easier)

I thought it was Daylight Savings Time too.  I also thought it was supposed to help farmers.

I’ve learned a lot preparing for today’s blog and I am encouraged. You see, ever since my two years in Peace Corps Kazakhstan where President Nursultan Nazarbayev did away with DST in his country with just a flick of his pen, I’ve been wondering why America doesn’t do the same thing.

Actually, because we live in a democracy — and one whose lawmakers rely on special interest groups for their information (and their money; sorry, I digress) — it’s not so easy to just do away with it. As we all know by now, democracy is not very efficient. I’m not knocking it, mind you. Just saying …

So, I wondered who would these special interests be? Who benefits from Daylight Saving Time? Who benefits from changing the time twice a year? 

Before today’s post, I assumed it would be the farmers. I can still remember one of my high school teachers telling us that DST would enable farmers to have more daylight for their harvest.  I’ve learned differently.

Before today’s post, I thought DST saves energy, given that the U.S. extended DST during the energy crisis of 1973-74 (I remember that too).  Wrong again.

Before today’s post, I also figured it must be popular among the majority for it to still be around.

Guess what?

Wrong on all counts.

To learn more about DST, I turned to an article from National Geographic magazine of November 3, 2013 entitled Time to Move On? The Case Against Daylight Saving Time (by Brian Handwerk) and learned the following

  • DST “doesn’t save us money or energy.”
  • DST first began during WWI as an energy saving measure, but today, in “any place that has air conditioning, … daylight saving is a loser.”
  • Arizona (except for residents of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands ignore DST.
  • Fewer than 40% of  Americans surveyed think DST is worth the hassle.
  • Over the past 50 years, DST has been stretched from six months to seven months to now eight months in part because several industries have been huge supporters.
  • Money have always played a role in the politics of DST. In the mid-1980s, for example, the golf industry estimated that an extra month of DST was worth $200 to $400 million.

Golf?  Really?  What other industries benefit, I wondered? Then I read:

  • During that one extra month of DST, the U.S. barbecue industry pegged their increased profits at $150 million.

That figures. Daylight lasts longer after work: more time for barbecues. I also read: 

  • Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving.
  • Oil and auto industries have always been big supporters of Daylight Saving Time.

That’s who’s lined up advocating for DST:  golfers, barbecuers, and the oil and auto industries.

But there’s an organized opposition to DST, too.

  • The dairy farmers want an end to DST. Seems their cows are a bit put out with the time change.
  • Teachers also want to end DST (officially, it’s the PTA, so maybe it’s more the parents).
  • Quite a few religious groups (particularly orthodox ones) whose prayer schedule is based on the sun not the clock are eager to see DST end.
  • The TV industry is also opposed to DST. The most popular shows, according to the Nielsen ratings, go down by 10 – 15 percent in viewership during the first week of DST.
  • The Obama White House tried a petition to end DST, but it stalled because it failed to garner the required number of signatures.

There’s also an economic downside to DST for the majority of us. Here’s a quote from research done at the University of Utah:

The simple but inconvenient act of changing America’s clocks and devices back and forth represents an annual $1.7 billion of lost opportunity cost. This was based on the average American’s hourly wage and an assumption that each person spent some ten minutes changing clocks, watches, and other devices—time that could have been far more productively spent.

Then there’s the medical piece. Turns out there’s a 10% increase in the number of heart attacks in the few days following DST’s start in the spring.

So, with evidence against DST mounting, I pick up the mantle. But, what can I, one lone individual, do? Turns out there’s an organization dedicated to ending DST. It’s called End Daylight Saving Time

Check them out, if you want to join my merry little band of revolutionaries  reformers.

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For more from my rants on DSL, see my post from  March 11, 2015, Daylight Saving Time Redux, including:

a quote from The Oregonian, March 9, 2015, in an article by Joseph Rose entitled:  5 reasons why Daylight Saving Time week is dangerous for Portland area commuters

And, the following year, my post, Daylight Savings Time Redux — Again  gave you John Oliver’s rant on DST  (March 9, 2016).

Ready to sign the petition?  Here’s the link from the End Daylight Saving Time page: Petition2Congress.

How about you?  What’s your stand on Daylight Saving Time? (please note: I don’t care if we keep DST or EST; I just want to pick one and move on). 

NOTE: Yes, I did mistakenly use Daylight SavingTime in my Title.  Add an inability to edit the title to my growing list of WP oddities. It’s something in a theme that was once used and that didn’t update when I went to WP 5.5.1  That’s why my new webmaster will use Square Space for a new website.   We’ll slog along until then.  HAVE YOU VOTED YET? 

12 Responses

  1. Maggie Wilson
    | Reply

    Janet – new reader here and I support your rant.

    I failed miserably at the quiz, but I have excuses since I’m in Ontario, and am not familiar with your country’s policy.

    However, I am happy to report that our provincial government is in the process of abandoning the practice of Daylight SAVING [not SAVINGS!] Time. The bill is in third reading. Hopefully by next spring it will be in effect.
    Maggie Wilson recently posted…Happy HourMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Welcome, Maggie. I’m delighted you stopped in and will be packing up to move to Canada this spring. I thought about it back in late 2016, but having a pathological demagogue wreaking havoc on my institutions, traditions, and values was just not enough. Doing away with the time change, however, I’m there. See you soon. 🙂

      On a more serious note, I have family members in Perth and Gatineau. Once CoVid gets under control we’ll be back again. I hope you’ll return.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Daylight Savings Time Redux (x4)My Profile

  2. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I don’t like time change, especially spring forward. Fall back is annoying too because it interrupts our daily rhythms. Two congressmen in Florida are trying to abolish it. Who know how far they’ll get? Petitions to this cause haven’t worked yet.

    Yes, I voted by mail and got verification that my vote has been COUNTED! 🙂
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Fifties Halloween Party with a Modern Writer’s TipMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, it does feel as though the political decision makers on this have not been focused on this issue. But who can blame them? And, I can see a bit of havoc ensuing if each state decides to go it on their own. Florida will be on EST, Georgia will stay with EDT, Ohio floats over to Central Time . . . This is one of those areas where federal involvement would be very helpful.

      Welcome back. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…Daylight Savings Time Redux (x4)My Profile

  3. Arlene Smith
    | Reply

    There is more and more support for abandoning the practice. I think it’s a matter of time . . . (pun intended). 🙂

  4. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    I failed the quiz. I do not like messing with time. I mean, I’m not Dr. Who or one of his/her companions, so that stands to reason. Just pick a time and stick with it.
    Ally Bean recently posted…In Which The Beans Disagree Over The Value Of Texts Announcing EmailsMy Profile

  5. Lea
    | Reply

    Hi Janet, I think an end to constantly changing the time would make life a lot easier for most people.

    I read somewhere that there are more traffic accidents the first week after time changing, especially in the spring when we lose an hour of sleep.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Lea, That’s certainly the position more and more are taking, it seems. And yes, you are right on the increase in accidents during that week; spring especially. For an entertaining read on just that, I link to that article “5 reasons why Daylight Saving Time week is dangerous for Portland area commuters” The link won’t copy, so you’ll have to go back to the article. Thanks for stopping by.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Daylight Savings Time Redux (x4)My Profile

  6. Frank Moore
    | Reply

    Bah humbug! We’re currently on DST 8 months out of 12, so let’s just stay on it!!

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